How to field dress a wild turkey

How to field dress a wild turkey

Once you have scouting an area, locating a wild turkey, shooting it and registered the game with wild life officers (where applicable) it's time to field dress the bird, and on this matter, the sooner the better to take profit of all edible meat.

Thus, in order to avoid meat loses it's mandatory to properly field dress your turkey, even before going home, just outdoors using the so called field dressing process.

First thing to do is remove feathers. To do so, pulls them on small bits from the base to the free end, taking care to secure the skin on the feathers base with your other hand in order to prevent skin tears.

Once all the feathers have been pulled, cut the wings at the first joint as well theField dressing a wild turkey feet at the lowest joint; probably you will have to bend the feet for an easier localization of the joint.

After removing wings and feet it's time to cut the tail, just above the gland. Finally it's time to cut the head, do it as near to the head base as possible since the neck is plenty of good meat, especially for stew. 

Be sure to count with a sharp, strong knife for this job because you will need to cut not only meat but also bones and cartilages. Be extremely careful during this part of the process to avoid injuries.

Now the first part of the field dressing is complete and it's time to remove the inner content.

To do so you need to make a cut on the base, underneath the tail, wide enough to allow your hand inside. Once the cut is made, put your hand inside the carcass and pull out all inner organs gently to avoid intestines leakings which could ruin the meat.

The last part of this process is to cut the intestine on the area where it's attached to the tail. From the innards, the liver, heart and gizzard are not only edible, but delicious, so separate them carefully from intestines and wash thoroughly before storing on a cold place.

Finally you need to remove the crop, a semi-digested food mass inside the turkey chest cavity. To achieve the crop it's necessary to make a small incision on the top, just on the point where the neck joins the chest; afterwards remove the crop.

Now your turkey is ready for a thorough wash with fresh water on both, outside but specially inside. If possible use a hose with high pressure water to wash the carcass inside.

After the wash, you may store the whole turkey on a cold place or butcher it on small parts, ready for the cooker.

It's a simple but critical process you need to do properly in order to take advantage of all edible meat of your game and, remember to save the feathers!

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